Updated at 1pm with official information
A patient who tested positive for COVID-19 and then recovered, has once again been found to be infected with the virus, Times of Malta is informed.
Sources have confirmed the patient, believed to be a healthcare worker, had been declared as recovered after first testing positive for the virus.
It is understood health authorities have already sent samples taken from the patient for testing abroad.
Contacted for a comment on the matter, Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci asked for questions to be sent via email.
Times of Malta has reached out to the Health Ministry and is awaiting replies.
Speaking about the case during her weekly briefing later on Friday, Gauci confirmed the patient had first tested positive on April 13 and had recovered by April 27. The patient tested positive for a second time on Thursday.
The authorities are considering the case as a new infection while awaiting guidance from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) on how to classify such cases, Gauci said.
Although in Malta this is the first time a patient has contracted the virus twice, the phenomenon is not unknown. In February, health officials in China's Guangdong province, reported that around 14 per cent of discharged patients tested positive again.
A similar scenario was reported in Japan, when a woman in her 40s tested negative for the virus and tested positive some three weeks later.
The Maltese health authorities consider a patient to have recovered if a swab test carried out 14 days after the positive test comes back negative.
If after the 14-day period a patient still tests positive, a third test is carried out after a week. The process continues until a negative result is returned.
Meanwhile, the hospital only removes people from their COVID-19 list after about three months. This is done so that any patients who might have complications after they have recovered are immediately identified.
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